I'd rather have excellent software over flashy hardware

A couple weeks ago, Android Central's Hayato Huseman offered the question of "Is hardware or software a bigger determining factor when buying a phone?" This is a question that's helped settle countless smartphone-buying decisions throughout time, and it's one I felt like answering.

Both hardware and software are required to create any phone, but in my case, I'd much rather use one with a top-of-the-line software experience – even if it means settling for mediocre hardware.

Take the Google Pixel 2, for example. I bought this phone last October shortly after it was announced, and it's been my daily driver ever since. It's not a particularly attractive or modern-looking phone, but even so, it's quickly become one of my favorite purchases of recent memory. Why? Google's nearly perfected the end-user experience thanks to rigorous software optimizations.

Samsung's phones are beautiful, but they're notorious for performance degradation after just a few months.

Even after six months of heavy, daily use, my Pixel 2 still flies through everything just like it's done from day one. Apps open in the blink of an eye, animations are buttery smooth, and there's never even the slightest hint of lag or jitters when scrolling through apps, web pages, or the general UI.

The Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM certainly contribute to the Pixel 2's speed, but this processing power on its own isn't nearly enough to ensure a smooth experience after months and months of use. Want an example for that? Take one look at the Galaxy S8.

Samsung's Galaxy S8 is a top-notch phone, and it has the exact same processor and RAM as the Pixel 2. However, as Andrew noted in his 10-month re-review, Samsung's heavy software customizations forced him to do a factory reset after just three months because the phone "became unbearably slow." (Something he also experienced on the Note 8 a few months earlier). Coincidence? I think not.

The Galaxy S9 is at its best when trying to mimic the look of the Pixel 2.

The Galaxy S9 is at its best when trying to mimic the look of the Pixel 2.

Something else that keeps me hooked on the Pixel 2 is how well thought-out everything is. There aren't any duplicate apps, all of the UI elements feel as if they have a purpose, and while this isn't necessarily "stock" Android any longer, it feels like a natural evolution of what we saw with the Nexus brand for all those years. Not once have I found myself fighting a laundry list of features I've never heard of in the settings or accidentally launching an alternative, inferior virtual assistant, and when you don't have to deal with these annoyances throughout the day, you get to enjoy your phone in a way that you won't find from a Samsung, LG, Huawei, etc.

My Pixel 2 gives me a software experience I can't find anywhere else, and it strikes the balance of melding hardware and software together that's worked so well for Apple over the years. However, when you focus this heavily on software, something's got to give.

Simply put, the Pixel 2 is not a pretty phone.

With the Pixel 2, that's seen right away with its design.

As much as I love the Pixel 2, I'll be the first to admit that it looks straight out of 2015. The textured metal and glass panel on the back looks great, but between the lack of wireless charging and dem bezels flanking the screen, it's not a very elegant phone.

I used the Galaxy S8 for a short period before switching to the Pixel 2, and while Samsung's software eventually drove me away, I couldn't help but smile each time I powered on its screen. Having an app or video take up the vast majority of the phone's front was almost magical, and it was very easy to get tricked into thinking you were holding a display panel with nothing surrounding it.

That illusion is never conjured up with the Pixel 2. Its screen isn't necessarily bad, but it's straight-up boring when placed next to virtually any phone that's been released over the past year.

Even so, I continue to use and enjoy the phone. It may not be the prettiest out there and certainly doesn't grab your attention like the iPhone X or Galaxy S9, but its software keeps me coming back day after day.

Do I wish it had slimmer bezels? Sure. Would I like to have wireless charging? Absolutely. These grievances may be deal-breakers for some consumers, but if you're able to look past these things, your met with one of the snappiest and most reliable phones money can buy.

Until Google learns how to compete with Samsung and Apple on the hardware side of things, I'll keep buying these "ugly" phones.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • There's nothing bad about the hardware.
    Actually prefer the build over all other phones.
  • I was on the Pixel 2 XL for a bit, what killed me was the blueshift, especially at the price point it was at. Although the Pixel 2 uses the Samsung screen which seems to be better, those bezels do seem pretty chunky, but I suppose comprises must be made putting the same hardware in both phones.
  • Pixel 2 XL uses LG screens, not Samsung.
  • DWR_31 you may have misunderstood him... He was referring to the Pixel 2 with the Samsung screen (not the XL) which he is correct...
  • The Pixel 2 is made by HTC. The Pixel 2 XL is made by LG.
  • This is key. The hardware on the Pixel phones aren't that bad to begin with. It would be a different story if this had a 2MP camera and 8GB of storage. Software couldn't save it.
  • Agreed. All phones have very good software now, even the infamous TouchWiz which in my opinion surpassed Google's plain Pixel software. Different hardware and features are the things that sets them apart from each other.
  • No that is definitely not true. Samsung and LG have ways to go to have software that's comparable to Google's software.
  • I think it has a great design !
  • Hardware is fine, I have zero issues with it. Not all phones need to be built the same.
  • My Note 8 after 6 months still flies...No slow down...I guess thanx to 6gb ram
  • I want to see a year with no slowdown. My S7 is HORRIBLE from a freeze up and lag standpoint. And I'm sure it is all the stupid apps I can't disable or remove.
  • Factory default your S7 and it will fly again..... For a while. So it's not the pre-installed apps causing the issues, it's something else. Samsung's mess up? Android OS getting clunky after day to day use? I have friends with Nexus and Pixel phones and they've shared similar stories. Typically after OS upgrade. So, it's probably mostly Google's coding leaving remnants, or something behind...
  • Pixels do not experience the same level of Jank that Samsung phones do, if at all. 6GB of RAM should mitigate this, but no one should ever need to factory reset their phones in 2018. Whenever I had stutter it was usually due to FB as I beta tested their app. Other apps can do things in the background that can force issues as well. What I would like to see is a test where someone takes phones, doesnt install any apps whatsoever and compares performance on a monthly basis. That would be easy to do, and would largely cool the argument of third party apps, stock, OEM modified, et al.
  • I never had an issue with my S7 & I had it for 2 years before upgrading to the S9... Lucky? Maybe... But I think it's more not loading & deleting unnecessary apps I don't use, restarting every month or so, update as soon as available, nothing runs in background I'm not using, I keep photos/vids but not apps on Micro SD, & my home screen is clean with minimal widget use - no live wallpapers or animations... My S7 ran like new, although looked beat to hell lol, the day I traded it in. Many that complain about lag or their Samsung "slowing down" are just beating their phones down/no maintenance or don't know what they're taking about - it's the in thing to say... Mainly had HTC phones before & never had issues with them either- miss the days HTC was relevant lol. Just one guys opinion...
  • Maintenance? You are kidding right? Closing down apps in the background is one thing. Power-cycling out of necessity is entirely different. The only maintenance that you should need is to install an update and remove unused or nefarious apps. Clearing the cache can work in emergencies, but shouldn't be lumped in with routine maintenance. Live wallpapers run fine on most phones, they do have battery drain, and a little system resource needs, but nothing that even 2GB of RAM couldn't handle effortlessly. Poorly coded applications are definitely an issue, and routinely removing unused apps is a good part of regular maintenance.
  • Kidding... not at all. Never mentioned clearing the cache or power cycling as part of maintenance either. Shutting down or restarting my device every few months is not power cycling which causes a total phone/battery drain causing the phone to reset. This and force shut downs should only be done in a last resort to correct and issue. Also never said live wallpapers(or animations/widgets) won't run fine on most devices either - just stated I don't use them much because that coupled with other things can slow performance... Yes poorly coded apps are an issue. Again, this is just what I've done and I have never had an issue with lag or slow downs even after 2 years.
  • KP8819, my S7 experience is/was the same as yours. 2 years, no complaints and no, it never slowed down on me either (OK, the battery was going, but that's normal). Not once did I give any consideration to factory resetting, and I had the bloatware-to-the-extreme AT&T model, too (I disable as much as possible). I expect the same kind of performance from my S9, and I'd wager I'll get it. Unfortunately, they'll just call us Samsung fanboys because we aren't trashing Samsung in favor of "pure" android and the Pixel phones. Pure android is fine. So is Samsung's flavor. And LG. They're all fine -- the pleasure (or not) of a software experience is a matter of personal preference. I've played with just about everything over the years. Had Nexus phones, HTC, Sony, etc. I rooted. I used ROMs. I'm fine with Samsung's version of android where it is right now. It works. Whatever makes people happy. I use Nova launcher and Samsung themes to make my phone look and function how I want. I'd do the same on a Pixel. If your phone slows down after 3 months, please take no offense, but it's probably got a lot to do with YOU. I've not experienced that on any device unless there's an app or something leaking memory.
  • Compare your support to a pixel and you will see your support was slow and laggy.
  • Or not... Tired of this notion that because you experience something, everyone else must or their lying or ill informed. You're not dealing with a bunch of novices. We've all own multiple OEM products.
  • Thx Zerospace-Net... Agreed. It is a matter of preference. I find it amusing how hostile some get if your preference doesn't line up with theirs & how quick to comment they are to let you know.
  • Don't update the software. Doing so may cause more lag (planned obsolescence maybe?). If you own an iPhone, you should know this by now. The phone was designed for the original software that it came with so it will function better. Software updates are bogus and never increases performance but actually does the opposite because the manufacturer wants you to buy a new phone. The S7 still has 4GB of RAM, so there shouldn't be any excuse.
  • That's not a realistic expectation to not update software.
  • NO-ONE follow this advice!!! Software updates provide security fixes that improve the security of your device! Unless you know what you are really and truly doing and actually understand what the updates actually doing and what it'll affect, update the bloody software when it becomes available. The iPhone comment you made, Apple admitted that is reduced performance slightly in older devices to improve battery life. Unless you were a power user that spent all day on the phone, you would barely notice these dynamic performance drops. So please stop spreading stupid advice about not updating software!
  • Get BK Package Disabler App from the Play store. You can disable anything you want
  • same here. perfect as day one on Note 8
    not that i dislike Pixel. i jus expect good hardware/screens for $700-$1000. maybe Pixel 3....
  • My whole issue is in the era of $800-$1K flagships, we should expect flashy hardware AND excellent software. It's sad that we still have to choose. That's why I miss the old world of rooting and custom ROMs. I have an S8+ and a year in I still really enjoy it but it's definitely got tons of features I don't care about at all and has developed the dreaded "Samsung lag".
  • To me, there is a big difference in paying $800 vs $1000. The hardware argument is subjective. Take for instance the screen on the S9. All agree it is brilliant. Where people disagree is on saturation, and the curve and distortion. The Pixel 2 XL. After the update, color seems to be less of an issue, and I haven't hear anything about ghosting of burn in in the last two months, no mass returns. Blueshift is a tolerance as well, does it offend everyone the same? These issues are here to stay when we are at this level of quality. So you will always need to ask what matters to you.
  • « it strikes the balance of melding hardware and software together that's worked so well for Apple over the years » Not really as it uses the same hardware as any orher hugh end android device...
  • You totally missed the point. Yes, Pixel phones have the same internal specs as anyone else, but it is the software optimization that makes these phones run so much better than a Samsung phone with the same specs.
  • Software over hardware every day. That's why I continue to ride the dying HTC ship till it sinks.
  • There’s no reason these days to have “ugly” hardware. I know, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but having to deliberate between good software and ugly hardware shouldn’t be on anyone’s agenda.
  • Keep the glass phones. I have no use for them
  • I love that it's 2018 and this is still a discussion in the Android space. No wonder people buy iPhones. They don't have to choose, they get both every year without having to read these mind numbing "please buy a Pixel" click bait articles.
  • I don';t think any iPhone user has "flashy hardware" these days unless they splashed out for an iPhone X. Even my HTC U11 with its considerable bezels has a better screen-to-body ratio than an iPhone 8 Plus.
  • I would argue that Apple fixed their boring hardware design problem for the first time since the iPhone 4, with the iPhone X. People have been sticking with Apple for the consistent software experience that you can't get elsewhere, not the hardware.
  • Apple does BOTH right every year. Great cameras, dual speakers, solid build, color accurate displays AND great software, without having to remind people every 5 minutes how great their software is. And their phones while stale in design by the 8, always had solid builds.
  • Yes, besides it being boring, Apple hardware is solid every year and one can find little reason to complain. But to further my point, I don't think the hardware is going to stop Apple users from buying the next version of the phone because they can't get the software experience anywhere else.
  • Correction, Apple used to do both right but Android has long since surpassed Apple in software and hardware and the buggy iOS 11 is proof of that, with Android we get choice and we get to control the way we want our phones to look and not the way Apple wants it's users or rather iSheep to look. And thank goodness for Google, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, OnePlus, LG, Sony and Nokia for making Android what it is. We have choice, customisation, freedom and flexibility something that is alien to iSheep (which I was one not too long ago) who are dictated to by mother Apple. Oh and you do realize that Android has 85% of the global market right? And the overpriced, locked down and inferior iPhone has just 13% so tell me again "no wonder people buy iPhones" wrong most people buy Android phones.
  • Most people in America buy iPhones...period
  • Actually even in America most people buy Android phones, in terms of smartphone manufacturers then Apple is number one in the US and it's the same story in the UK where I'm from as well.
  • Apple is definitely consistent... consistently boring! Every time I pick up an iOS device, I can't wait to put it down again.
  • I think the big difference with iOS vs Android is iOS users live in their apps, and Android users tend to live in the OS. If iOS had more customization, I would probably have used that as my Google phone. Glad it didn't because my experience with the Pixels and before them Nexus, quelled my desire for an iPhone.
  • Great point and perfectly put!
  • booboolala2000, solid take and, when I think about it, to agree 100%.
  • I would argue that "people don't have to choose" is often (around here, esp) a reason against iPhones: People don't GET to choose. An iPhone is an iPhone and always will be. Everyone is different and deserves to be able to make a choice amongst alternatives, and Android is just that.
  • Not according to AC, which seems to think you should follow Apple's lead and only buy Pixels, which defeats everything you just stated
  • This is clearly an opinion piece though, and yes, Joe works for AC but he's entitled to share his insightful opinion. It's what he's paid to do. No one has ever written "You should only buy a Pixel phone", they acknowledge everyone has different preferences. I agree with you that a lot of the individuals who work at AC love the Pixel for it's software, but it's not surprising because it's arguably the best software experience. Also it's ANDROID Central. Android at it's core is 100% the software, so when a phone comes along and does it right, it's not surprising they flock to it.
  • I own a Pixel btw. And although I agree it's a great device, it's just not what I thought it would be based on all the hype. It's not as fluid as either my iPhone X or One Plus, and although it does many things right, the over hype by AC and some fans really doesn't do it any favors Comparing a Pixel to a Samsung device is also derivative. Two different approaches to Android and neither is wrong or right. It's how Android SHOULD be.
  • Exactly, getting very boring. If it wasn't for Samsung, Android wouldn't even be as popular as it is!
  • iPhone X was polarizing, don't kid yourself. Was not even a game changer, and not considered attractive on either level by everyone. Don't get made because you have too few choices. Don't even get us started on the trainwreck of iOS 11. "How to fix iOS 11" articles are prevalent all over the web.
  • Apple has the distinct advantage of their software and hardware being built around each other
  • I would say it's now a disadvantage. Mainly because of the walled garden they created. Windows and Android are open and uses standards that are cheap to implement and license. So, you have a great choices of brands and models to suit your needs. Apple controls everything but you need to go all the way with them or else, you're forced to use cumbersome adapters or have limited features. This is a tradeoff I'm not willing to make. I do agree that they make robust hardware and ok software (I like widgets and gestures, you can judge me). Especially the iPhone which is at the same price point than android's flagship. But for the rest (laptop, speakers, tablets, desktop, screens, etc) the apple tax is just too much and provide nothing of value over the much cheaper option available to an open hardware.
  • Android Central, as much as I love you, I am getting tired of this "Samsung software slows down after few months" debate you are stirring up on the site. I have used an S8, Note 8 and now using S9 Plus - had/have no issues with the software. Seems like you either need good quality time with the phones instead of just believing to the hearsay comments.
  • How does it feel? Pixel owners who have said they have not experienced all the problems that have been reported were crucified. You have not had slow down so it doesn't exist. Right?
  • That's right. Neither does global warming. /s I still love my Sammy phones anyway.
  • Based on the phones you've used it sounds like you haven't had any "quality time" with your phones either and haven't been able to see if there is low degradation after 1+ years. I will say I love Samsung, and used an S8 for 6+ months and loved every minute. When I jumped to a Pixel 2, even though my S8 never "slowed", using the Pixel software was so much faster I finally understood the "lag" complains with Galaxy, even though I had no complaints while using it
  • lol, just saw this. Same thoughts exactly.
  • Most Galaxy owners who insist their phones do not lag probably haven't used anything else (at least not a Pixel, Nexus or recent HTC phone). It is hard to recognize/acknowledge lag when you haven't experienced a truly lag-free device. It's like asking a blind person to describe colors.
  • I have the Note 8, Pixel 2, and iPhone X. No lag on my Note 8.
  • That lag is real. I've had several Samsung Galaxy devices in my household, and they all tend to lag. It seemed like an eventuality. I can't keep hoping it'll get better...
  • I agree with this. I've never had Samsung software slow down on me after six months since before the S7 edge. That narrative needs to die.
  • From your update cycle, it seems like you may need more "quality" time with these devices before assuming this argument comes out of nowhere. Six months is usually right on the cusp of the downward spiral of samsung phones.
  • Really Samsung lag? Having to reset after 3 months. I'm one year into use on the S8+. Runs perfectly smooth and no lag. just got a S9+ and disabled apps not needed. it's the best of both worlds....great hardware that runs smooth with many additional features.
  • As a Pixel owner, can you tell me those features? Maybe five that are only available on a samsung phone.
  • Bixby!!! And rounded screens... (nexus 6p survivor here)
  • Screenshot edit, wireless charging, better carrier support (including unlocked models), micro sd, better connectivity for screen sharing/mirroring, etc. Just to name a few. FYI I'm on a Pixel 2 XL right now, came from an unlocked S8+. I'm not that excited after moving to the Pixel honestly.
  • Swipe to screenshot. Double press home button to open camera. Volume tab in setting menu. Separate notification\ringtone volume control. Theme store. Not to pile on. Just remembered how well Samsung does little things to make life easier for me that Pixel doesn't.
  • We ge it already, you guys looooooove the pixel. Another article that praises the pixel while putting down another phone.
  • Exactly. It's to the point of obsession.
  • Yeah, google is pulling an apple by pulling themselves up while dragging everything else in the mud for self promotion. I don't like the google of the last 2 years.
  • Agreed 100%. This is exactly why I would never buy a Samsung, or any other Android phone with OEM overlays/carrier meddling.
  • My panda pixel 2 XL stands out and that's usually what I care about most when it comes to the design of my phone.
  • I feel like this article is perfect for where I am these days. I had a Note 5 on ATT, then got an S7 Edge as an insurance replacement when the speakers crapped out on two separate notes. Loved the modern edge feel, but indeed...Samsung creep happened for me after 5-6 months and an OS upgrade. It was simply too bloated and laggy in day-to-day usage, and I didn't feel like factory resetting to triage such an issue. Ended up souring me on carrier phones altogether, and I jumped to MintSIM and grabbing an Essential Phone when Sprint had that insane $150 deal. I loved, loved, loved the clean and uncluttered Android experience, and the uber-modern notch/all-screen design. The camera issues got better after a kazillion updates, but unfortunately that device blows as an actual PHONE with spotty reception that would have me miss tons of calls and texts when I was deep within any building. Finally, I found an eBay seller blowing out brand new, boxless HTC U11 phones for $350. Now I have the Pixel 2 camera hardware, a scaled back software experience not THAT far from stock and some of the best phone audio and reception I've ever had. It sucks that HTC is circling the drain, but this thing is a workhorse. It is dated looking from the front, but the experience and hardware more than make up for it.
  • Good for you! I'd take the U11 for $350 anyday (but then I'd slowly be reminded of the 20 or so features I would give up moving away from Samsung).
  • "Samsung creep happened for me after 5-6 months and an OS upgrade. It was simply too bloated and laggy in day-to-day usage..." Aka "planned obsolescence". Like every other OEM, Samsung needs new consumers to keep their product lines moving. The Galaxy S7's 4 GB RAM + SD820/Exynos 8890 is more than adequate to handle Marshmallow, Nougat and even Oreo (my ancient Nexus 4 runs Nitrogen OS surprisingly well). It is the millions of lines of code that Samsung injects into TouchWiz/Samsung Experience that eventually gimps the hardware...which leads to user frustration...which leads to buying a new phone...rinse and repeat.
  • "Samsung guy" coming in strong defending their purchase. Insecure bunch.
  • LOL, as he should. He could have picked a Pixel and didn't. You Pixel guys aren't much better, but you're blinded by your air of superiority
  • Maybe, but I know one thing. When there is a Samsung article, Pixel owners do not flood the comment section saying how superior their phone is. What the hell, why do I even care. lol. What's up man? How's is going.
  • Monday morning click bait before everyone has had their coffee. It pulls is in every week lol
  • Lol, we all take the bait. Heck, I still have the hook attached to my cheek.. and it hurts!!!
  • This is as much an anti-Samsung article, as it is a Pixel article.
  • I was sceptical when I purchased the Pixel 2. My OCD is triggered easily which makes using any software unbearable at times. When I pick up my S9 at work, the stuttering drives me nuts. I understand that most people don't notice it but I do unfortunately. The Pixel 2 has occasional micro stutters, but it has been tolerable. This is the first phone that I have ever owned that I can say that. Is it kinda ugly? Why yes it is. Fortunately I am looking at the screen when I use it and not trying to admire the hardware.
  • Pixel is definitely *not* the most visually striking phone. But most people hide their phone in a case, so looks shouldn't be that big of a deal to them. Anyhoo, if I preferred form over function, I'd get an iPhone.
  • I have the Pixel 2 and the Note 8 and have done comparisons. No real difference in lag or stutter for me. Go figure.
  • But when great software meets great hardware, let's say Note 8 or iPhone 8+, then I'd go with these over Pixel 2
  • There is absolute no (good) reason the Pixel 2 and S8 or S9 can’t have a baby born of either manufacturer for a reasonable price. I want the Pixel 2 for all the reasons in this post but I am spoiled rotten by my S7’s wireless charging and Samsung Pay’s MST. If I had hair, I’d be tearing it out right now.
  • I have the pixel 2 xl and the note 8. The note has been my daily driver and now with the Oreo update, the pixel launcher and ar stickers, I have no need to return to the pixel. I will say that I prefer the pixel's camera, the largest factor for me has been Samsung pay. It's unbeatable. I use it many times a day and have over 10k reward points lol. I wish other manufacturers would use this mst tech. It's the best. Also, what the hell are people doing to slow down their phones so much? I use this thing like crazy and after 7 months, there's no difference. Like, at all. I do use the pixel launcher, maybe that helps?
  • Curious, what can you do with the points. And why is samsung pay better than android pay? I use android pay regularly and I get rewards on my credit card. I get google play credit with surveys (enough that I don't know what to do with them).
  • I get gift cards mostly, so free monies lol. Samsung pay is different as it uses Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). MST emits a magnetic signal that mimics the magnetic strip on a traditional payment card. So you can use it on any terminal with a card reader. Google pay only works with nfc if it's accepted. This won't be as big of a deal in the future as more places take nfc, but for example, Target and Walmart do not use nfc in my area. Nor does 70 of the stores. My Samsung pay works on all of the terminals.
  • I think this discussion only exists, because Android Central is always pushing Samsung and Pixel. One has notable software issues, the other has notable hardware issues. Believe it or not, there are some devices which don't have big problems with either, and I'm enjoying a phone with beautiful hardware and software. I'm not buying it that Apple always does it perfectly either. I've had a number of iOS releases that were buggy. The iPhone 4 had a defective antenna design, and anyone who thinks the iPhone 5c was good in any way is delusional. A cheap plastic shell with a tin lining that flexes and causes the screen to break no matter which way you drop it? Yeah, not good. The iPhone 6 and 7 were nice, but still broke too easily. We have replaced a total of 14 iPhone screens in the last 4 years.
  • Wow. I’ve had every iPhone since the 5s and never have I or my wife broken a screen, iPhone or Android. Not one. My son broke his 6s screen once.
  • It's kids! Seriously though, the main problem was buying four iPhone 5C's at the same time, without knowing that the only component with stiffness was the display. I was there watching when one of them slipped out of their hand and fell ten inches onto the kitchen table, onto it's back, with a fat silicone case on it, and it still cracked. The 6 and 6s were stronger, but still broke from waist high. I'm on a first name basis with the repair shop owner (hey Steve!), and they make most of their money off iPhone screen replacements. *I* get a discount though, lol.
  • Lol, discount! Well at least they treat you right! I dropped my 6s from chest high, getting a bunch of stuff out of my truck to go home, and dropped that puppy on concrete. It shattered my glass screen protector and scuffed up my silk thin case I had on it but that was it. I can count how many times I dropped a phone on one hand and 4 of the 5 hit carpet.
  • I've never broken any of my iPhone screens and I had every iPhone ( since the 4s) up to the 6s Plus and since I've been back with Android ,I've already broken my screen of my Chinese Oukitel K6 although it's not fair to compare a former flagship iPhone to a mid-range Chinese Android phone.
  • What notable software issues? Probably 90% of normal users have zero software issues. Us geeks who know what jank means are the only ones who complain lol. I think the software issues are blown way out of proportion.
  • Ever since Samsung released the S7 edge, Samsung software has become quite well. I have never experienced any of the slowdowns that everyone keeps talking about. I think it's about time we nip that narrative in the bud.
  • Never. Must keep narrative going . We do not need one less thing to argue about.
  • As a former S7 Edge user, I most certainly disagree. That lag/slowdown is alive and well.
  • I've NEVER had a phone that didn't slow down after updates and degraded batteries. Otherwise it would never be necessary to upgrade. So just assigning this to Samsung is total bs
  • Both of our HTC M8's stayed buttery smooth and fast for three years. My current U11 is only 9 months old, but it too is a screamer, even with 137 apps loaded.
  • Nexus, Pixel and HTC are the only phones I have used that don't slow down after time. Even iPhones get janky after major iOS updates. But Samsung devices are the worst. I think Samsung's memory management is the culprit.
  • I had an M8, and it definitely slowed down on me after a year. Not everyone's experience is the same I guess. Sometimes you can get varying degrees of performance depending on the individual device QC and carrier. Which is why generalizations are bs
  • To OP:
    Yawol, Herr Kommandant!
  • Got an A1 and can only agree with the sentiment a 1000 fold.
  • Let's get real for a minute. You're not really compromising with most choices today. Don't fall for this BS click bait nonsense. Buy the phone that offers more of what you need
  • Exactly. I think readers oftentimes seem to forget that the author and other AndroidCentral staff are just regular guys/gals who have jobs in tech journalism (no offense intended, it's just the truth). They're not experts, they don't know any better than you or me; these are just opinion pieces and while everyone is entitled to one, it would be nice for journalists to stop pushing these straight up lies about slowdowns etc. Stock Android is nothing to write home about, every feature on the Pixel (running Oreo) was once upon a time implemented by an OEM (HTC's squeeze, Samsung's Split Screen etc.) Stock Android isn't even free of bloat, just because software is written by Google doesn't give it "Not Bloat" status. Pixel gets updates sooner? So what? Security updates are what matters, not the OS updates. Every feature on Oreo (and then some) was already on Samsung phones running Nougat ... So what is the big deal with OS updates arriving early when people already have those features? No really, what exactly is special about the Pixel besides it being made by Google? Motorola/HTC/Sony could make the exact same phone and nobody would sing its praises, rather you would find reasons as to why customers should buy the "Google" phone instead.
  • It's gets security updates sooner
  • Yeah, that's not even true either. My company phone (s8 on Verizon) has consistently gotten security updates mid month. Even if that were true, so what? You get security updates like two weeks earlier than everyone else, whoop de clucking doo.
  • akin_t Right on!
  • On the contrary, especially in the Western Hemisphere- even the most expensive flagships are woefully deficient... You pay top dollar and swallow missing or undersized features.
    You can't do like with computers- pay whatever to get everything.
  • Deficient how? Sounds like first world problems to me. My phone does what I need it to do.
  • I'd have to agree with that... Not feeling the deficiency at all.
  • Exactly my sentiments.
  • Its a bloody phone,who gives a toss what it looks like,apart from sad folk with a"lifestyle",but no life ?
    Any device should be unlockable/rootable so that at least a stock andriid factory image can be flashed to it.
    Me,i dont care how many folk say that a device is the best yet,if it cannot be flashed then its no sale.
    device makers teams seem to be lead by the most un-imaginitive bunch of supposed "designers" that they could possibly find,they seem more interested in copying the latest stupid,devisive "idea",notch,lack of 3.5 jack,stupidly thin,all glass etc etc,but when was the last time you,or anyone you know was asked by a device maker what they want to see in a device ? Never,will be the andwer from 99% of folk.
  • I am in the same situation. I love the software on the Pixel 2 and can't see myself using anything else. Even the OnePlus 5T isn't quite as smooth. The Pixel 2 might not be the prettiest phone, but it's probably the most functional and efficient.
  • Efficient maybe, but functional? Not if you want to wirelessly charge, use 3.5mm, expand storage, pay with MST, etc. These are things the Pixel simply cannot do. It's like comparing a tesla roadster to a luxury sedan.
  • I haven't had a MicroSD slot since 2013 and I don't miss it. MicroSD is slow compared to internal storage and multiple partitions are a pain in the ass. Wireless charging is actually inconvenient in my opinion and it's bad for the battery. Plus, I can't stand that glass back. Not having the headphone jack kind of sucks but I don't miss it that much.
  • I don't use a micro SD card either... but having the option is nice. I have a few just in case but even 64 GB is plenty for me(49.9 GB available after system/user data & bloatware) Where did you get your info that wireless charging is bad? Can I get some references to read up? Personally, I really like having a 3.5mm headphone jack...
  • The most functional and efficient?
  • And good luck Joe
  • I haven't had any issues with my Samsung phones slowing down over time, you're using it wrong. My Note 5 ran like new when I upgraded to my S8+, my S8+ still ran like new when I got my S9+.
  • AC hates Samsung.
  • Not when just about every "Best" article has Samsung as their top pick.
  • Sheesh... Some of these posts take an opinion piece so personally... It's just an opinion, not a review for crying out loud...
  • It's better to have a balance of both. Truthfully, nearly all phones have excellent software, there's enough RAM nowadays to prevent OS lag. Android itself is customizable and if you don't like something, you can install a custom launcher or theme. It now comes down to hardware and featu